Barabati Fort, built by the Ganga dynasty on the banks of River Mahanadi, is one of the most sought-after tourist attractions of Cuttack. Located near the Baliyatra Ground, this ruined fort stands on the west side of the Millennium City. According to historians, Barabati Fort once housed a nine-story palace. While the fort is spread over an area of 102 acres, it has a 20-yard wide moat to protect the structure. What stands at the site today are the ruins of the palace on an earthen mound, the hyacinth-filled moat, and the fort. The area is protected by the Archaeological Survey of India.
Historians say the entire site came up over a period of years and construction of the fort was started in 989 AD by King Marakata Keshari while he was building embankments on the shore of river Mahanadi to protect the city from floods. Later in the 14th century, Mukundadev Harichandan, a Chalukyan King, built the nine-story palace. Excavations carried out by archaeologists have revealed that the fort was rectangular in structure and it was surrounded on all sides by a wall of laterite and sandstone. In recent years, stone images of deities and dancing women have been found from spots around the moat. The gateway of the fort is minimally designed with large laterite stones. The best season to visit the spot in winter.